RYA Day Skipper Practical Course

You have some yachting experience and a good understanding of navigation. You will passage plan and skipper a yacht on short passages. You will experience being in charge and taking control of the yacht and the crew. The debrief each day is spent around the chart table discussing the passages and gaining from each other’s experience.

Please note: we also offer a 2 week Day Skipper Special on board the yacht for those of you wishing to pre-study navigation theory.

  • full 6 days with 4:1 or (larger yacht) 5:1 client to instructor ratio
  • You get your own cabin! No-one shares unless by choice when booking
  • You learn to sail and berth a clean, modern yacht of between 36ft to 40ft

1 week (6 full days sailing)

Pre Course Experience
Pre Course Experience

5 days, 100 NM, 4 night hours aboard a sailing yacht

Assumed Knowledge
Assumed Knowledge

Basic navigation and sailing ability. Ideally you will have
attended the shore based RYA day skipper theory course or
have a good understanding of the following: Tidal heights,
tidal streams, compass variation, Course to Steer, passage
planning, compass bearings, clearing bearings, 3 position
fixes and knots. A basic understanding of lights and shapes

Course Content
Course Content

Preparing the yacht and crew, pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling including sailing to a buoy/anchor and mooring alongside

Expected Learning Outcome
Expected Learning Outcome

Can skipper a small yacht in familiar waters by day


Saloon berth €1150 


Panel divided twin cabin berth €1150 pp


Single occupancy cabin €1280 (one person)


Double cabin €2200 (couple sharing)


52 Weeks of the year, subject to availability

Book Links
Book Links

RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Notes
Day Skipper Exercises for Sail and Power (Only available on Amazon)
Day Skipper for Sail and Power (Only available on Amazon)
RYA Sail Cruising and Yachtmaster Scheme – Syllabus and Logbook
RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Notes

For those clients wishing to study the book before you arrive, books can be purchased online prior to your arrival. Alternatively they can be purchased at our school when you arrive. Please note, we do not supply any books that are purchased through Amazon .


Click here for local weather links 


Day Skipper course content

Below is a list of the course content you will understand by the end of your 6 day RYA Day Skipper Practical course with Canary Sail.

Preparing for Sea
  • We will supply you with a checklist-at the end of your course!
Working on Deck
  • Reefing for prevailing conditions
  • Preparing a yacht for anchor
  • Berthing alongside buoy, springing off and general boat handling
Navigation on board
  • Plotting fixes, using GPS, DR & EP, tidal heights and streams, course to steer, ships log, depth log and lead line
  • Leading lines and transits, sounding etc
  • Interpretation of barometer and shipping forecasts, source of forecasts
  • Working knowledge
Stocking up
  • How to ensure enough of everything required is on board
  • Must be able to recover an MOB
Emergency equipment
  • VHF & distress messaging
  • Towing (maybe with a real tow!)
  • Helicopter rescue procedures
Fix it!
  • Can make minor repairs/impeller change for example
  • Thorough brief on fuel and cooling systems, including routine engine checks
Handling a yacht under power
Handling a yacht under sail
Passage working
  • Plan a passage, and undertake it with yacht and crew
Night Cruising
  • Now included in the DS syllabus to give day sailors experience of night entries

Typical Itinerary for Week

Day 1 

We will meet and welcome you at the San Miguel Marina in Tenerife and settle you onto your yacht. Ideally, you will start preparations and safety brief in the evening in preparation for an early start the following morning. You are then invited to join us for drinks to meet the team, your instructors and fellow students or crew who start their full week courses. You will be made very welcome by the Canary Sail team and we can advise the best restaurants for you to sample!

Day 2

After the initial safety briefing, you will learn the ropes, be shown how to prepare the boat for departure and almost always be taken out for an introductory sail in the “WAZ” (Wind Acceleration Zone) just off the harbour wall. This is to help you feel comfortable and (for some of you) familiar with your new surroundings on board.

Day 3
Instruction on boat handling in and around the marina before making the first passage normally through the Wind acceleration zone (WAZ) to Marina Las Galletas, situated close by, or to San Sebastián, la Gomera. Here you will moor the boat in ideal conditions and be ready to relax before heading off for dinner in one of the many restaurants or bars available.
Day 4/5/6
The schedule for these days will depend on what you hope to achieve during the course, the level you are working towards and the winds. We aim to sail South or North of La Gomera to Vueltas or Valle Gran Rey on the west of the island. The Northern route takes us through no less than 2 more of our WAZ zones thus almost ensuring you of great sailing in superb conditions on all points of sail! This fishing harbour is a more rustic location offering a wide variety of foods from local fish to international cuisine, experiencing the sunset from this charming habour. The WAZ zone situated just north of Vueltas serves us with ideal training conditions for sailing exercises during the following day. You may then depart Vueltas and complete your circumnavigation of La Gomera calling into Santiago, a beautiful fishing village, either for the evening or as a set-off point for the highlight of your week – The Night Sail to San Sebastian La Gomera! Alternatively an early morning sail back to South Tenerife.
Day 7

Following further sailing, anchoring and general boat handling we finish back at our home port of San Miguel. Remember your accommodation on board this evening is also included!

Day 8

Leave the yacht at 09.00 latest please for your return home or to continue your holiday inTenerife. Please see our stay page for accommodation.

Exclusive Course Yacht option for couples, families or groups on 36 to 50ft cruise yachts.


Yes. It is important to have reasonable knowledge of Day Skipper navigational theory in preparation for the Practical Course, for example:

  • Work out times and heights of HW and LW
  • Use a tidal curve to establish height of tide
  • Extract information from a tidal atlas or diamond
  • Apply Variation and Deviation
  • Convert bearings between Compass, Magnetic and True
  • Plot bearings and fixes on a chart using a plotter
  • Produce a Course to Steer
  • Produce a Dead Reckoning and Estimated Position
  • Interpret chart symbols and abbreviations
  • Identify sound signals, lights and day shapes for different types of vessels

Those who have sailed before with crewing experience or have completed the RYA Competent Crew Course.

We teach safety on board plus the skills required to plan short passages, handle the yacht and manage the yacht and crew to a competent level.

This course takes the basics of crewing a yacht previously learned and is an introductory level, teaching yacht skipper skills, yacht management and crew safely with confidence.

This qualification is widely accepted by most, if not all charter companies, most of which may restrict the holder to navigation during the hours of daylight.

The RYA stipulates a minimum of 5 days. Canary Sail run the course over a full 6 days, with 7 nights on board.

Your instructor will teach and demonstrate the skills required covering the Day Skipper Practical Syllabus. You will also have assistance from your instructor putting your navigational theory into practice.

This course is residential and conducted whilst staying on board the yacht. Included in this course is your RYA Instructor training, hotel style bedding & towel, provisioning on board for breakfast and lunch, snacks and drinks. Marina fees and fuel costs are also included.

Ideally, you should have sailed before for a minimum of 100 NM and have experienced some hours of night sailing. Remember previous theory knowledge is a must!

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A wide range of practical and theory courses offered all year round

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Choose from a variety of sail cruises around the Canary Islands and beyond

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From Bareboat to skippered charter, we have an option to suit your needs

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Recommended accommodation options in La Gomera and Tenerife

Get in Touch

Phone any time on our UK Divert No. (UK call cost): 0044 1252 837648
Phone (USA): 001 855 866-5566
Phone (Spain): 0034 922 141 967

Company Address:
Marina San Miguel
Urbanizacion Amarilla Golf
San Miguel de Abona
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Islas Canarias

Postal Address:
Apartado de Correos 211
San Sebastián de la Gomera
Islas Canarias

Office opening hours:
Tuesday-Friday 08.30-15.30

Calls diverted outside of office hours, excluding Mondays. Please send us an email and your enquiry will be dealt with promptly.

Quick Contact

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